HRM CASE STUDY 1: HOSTILE MINT Introduction The Denver Mint is a company under the US as per the case thus it will be under US HR laws. As of late, there have been women complaining of lack of equal employment opportunities (EEO) to the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Question 1: HR PROBLEMS AT DENVER MINT 1) Hostile Environment The main HR problem at Denver Mint was the lack of employee safety especially the women group at Denver. The women were facing a hostile work environment. For one they were under constant sexual harassment from their co-workers. For example, the case of the pornographic materials stashed in the toilet. The other example is the proposition by the male supervisor to the lady who had just come from her bereavement leave of her late husband. It is the duty of every employer to ensure the safety of their workers and protecting employees from sexual environment should be one of them. Not only had Denver Mint failed to ensure the safety of its female staff but also made it worse by participating in it. For instance the case of the male supervisor propositioning the female sub-ordinate. His duty is to ensure her safety not endanger it. 2) Longer time to act on complaints The other HR problem is that it took Denver Mint long to act on complaints forwarded by the staff. For instance the female employee that filed a petition in 2000 with the facility’s EEO officer only had a hearing in 2003. Not only that the ruling favored the company. This shows not only lack of speed in acting to complaints but unfair ruling. 3) Another HR problem is: the lack of equal employment opportunities (EEO). Denver Mint favored the male staff and any female staff that filed complaints it took longer to act on it and also favors ruling. Further, not only that any female employee that went further with the complaint was either dismissed or had her duties reassigned. Like the female staff that was required to work at home and had all her duties reassigned just because she filed an EEO charge claiming discrimination. The other example is that of the highest ranking woman at Denver Mint. This represents unfair dismissal and discrimination of women who are the minority at Denver. Question 2) ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY A zero tolerance policy is one which requires a severe penalty to be imposed which is unbending in its imposition, and often does not give allowance for extenuating circumstances. It is, as it states, completely intolerant of the behaviour for which it requires consequences, no matter what. It is a policy that punishes all offences severely, no matter how minor. Arguments for For sexual harassment, using a zero tolerance policy will be good in setting an example any future person intending to do will be scared. Arguments against What constitutes sexual harassment is subjective. For instance it may be taken by one person as sexual harassment, for another it may just be mere acquaintance. Thus if zero tolerance is implemented, it may judge people with only minor slip-of-tongue to have done sexual harassment. Another thing is zero tolerance fail to look at situations. People act differently in different situations. For example, let’s say Denver Mint proposes that holding hand of opposite sex is considered as “sexual harassment”. Thus based on zero tolerance, whatever circumstance it may be if a co-worker holds the hand of the other then he’s subjected to harsh punishment. For instance, something emotional happens like a fire outbreak or death, and one co-worker holds the other of opposite sex colleague, then based on zero-tolerance he’ll be punished. Thus this will lead to dealing with minor issue severely leading to many cases of punishments daily thus wastage of time in dealing with cases. It may even lead to high employee expulsion as a result of the offences committed. Summary of Q 2: Thus Zero tolerance is not suitable to Denver Mint or any other institutions for that matter as it does not look at the circumstances it just set rules and sets mandatory punishment if people breaks them irrespective of circumstances. Question 3) SUGGESTED MEASURES FOR EMPLOYEES OF DENVER MINT Instead of Zero Tolerance Policy, Denver Mint should adopt another policy that is flexible. That looks into situations thoroughly before proposing punishment. To protect its female employees from sexual harassment, Denver should educate its male staff that it is wrong to harass their female colleagues and anybody found guilty of the offence will be punished. Supervisors also are not excluded from the punishment. Denver should investigate sexual harassment cases and punish the offenders with strict punishment so that it can set examples to others not to do. Then Denver should provide equal opportunities to its employees. For instance, increase the number of high-ranking female staff. Put some more females into supervisory position if they are capable. This will balance the minority issue that currently exists. If the number of female employees and female supervisors increases, there will be less imbalances, thus the male staff will start acknowledging their female counterparts. The other thing that Denver needs to amend is the time it takes to investigate and act on a complaint. In future, Denver should act with speed to employees’ complaints. Presentation A happy satisfied staff leads to increased productivity. It will also lead to increased loyalty which leads to fewer turnovers and in the end less cost for searching new staff. This will make a company more competitive. Many authors and researchers have supported this that the only key to a company’s competitive advantage is its social capital. Thus if Denver really wanted that competitive advantage then it should be sensitive to its employees’ needs and all employees for that matter not the male employees only as each employee contributes a significant part to the organization. Thus, Denver will need to implement the above proposed measures in order to have satisfied employees.
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